Celery is a vegetable with a distinctive savoury flavour and refreshing crunchy texture. It is made up of a bundle of long stems that surround a tender heart that is pale in colour. Greener varieties will be stronger in flavour with a slight bitter taste.
How to cook it
Celery can be added to stocks and to add flavour as part of a bouquet garni. Chopped celery can be added to stuffing, sauces, stews and braised dishes, and the tender hearts can be kept whole for steaming, boiling and braising. Its crunchy texture makes it brilliant for stir-fries.
Available all year round, except for the hardy white variety that lasts a short winter season from mid-November to January.
Fresh celery should have firm, tightly packed stems, with no signs of browning on the outer layers. If it has leaves, they should be fresh and perky.
Break the stems away from the base, trim the ends and wash thoroughly. Tougher stalks may need to be peeled to remove tough strings.
Store in the vegetable drawer of the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Try stir-frying sliced celery with broccoli florets, sliced beef, cashews and oyster sauce to serve with rice or noodles.